Thursday, 24 September 2009

Broadway Roundabout is a farce

What’s the point of having a blog if you can’t have a good old fashioned ill informed rant about the frustrations of daily life? Don’t answer that. There are a number. I won’t let them deter me.

Is there anything that makes modern Homo sapiens angrier than driving? Don’t answer that either. There are countless worthier reasons for rage.

Still, I must let off some steam on the subject of one of Belfast’s major intersections, the new Broadway Roundabout.

I live a few minutes walk from this leviathan of tarmacadam, which was only fully opened earlier this year, after many months of traffic chaos.

Am I happy now that it’s operating?

Absolutely not!

The roundabout, purportedly fully functioning, works less efficiently than it did whenever it was festooned with cones and pock-marked with temporary traffic lights.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful piece of road design – at 9am on a Sunday morning. Without any traffic you’ll whiz unto the West Link with barely a delay. However, if you’re impressed, come back at the same time the next day!

The problem is that if its planners had sat down to devise a system in order to actively CAUSE gridlock, their blueprints could not have realised that end better than Broadway on a weekday morning.

The roundabout is split into bite sized chunks, just large enough so that each, when occupied by six cars, cannot be accessed by any more. On a typical morning they all fill up, the lights turn green and no-one can drive ANYWHERE, in ANY of the sections, because they are all full.

You’ll sit for five, six, seven changes of the lights before it’s possible to move.

I live five minutes WALK from the roundabout and it takes me between 25 – 45 minutes to access it, by car, every morning. Then I have to get to the other side.

Of course this is all part of the same masterplan which produced the West Link underpass. Yes. The one that filled up with water the first time a summer shower struck, after it was opened!

What do I want done about it? I don’t know.

Do I feel better after ranting about it? Not really.


Timothy Belmont said...

My view of the Roads Disservice is well known. Suffice it to say that you have my sympathy!


Kevinho said...

I'm just glad I live somewhere that I don't even need a car. Even if Boris is slowly messing up the London transport system.

Anonymous said...

Kevinho - I come in by coach from the country on M1 - to Broadway roundabout where the timings on bus lights on the smaller roundabout are complete b*ll*cks

Kevinho said...

Anonymous - I commute by tube so traffic lights don't even bother me :-D

I reckon the problem with that junction is its a cheapo job, all at the same grade - the through dual carriageway should go underneath, then the second roundabout should be taken out and replaced with something more free flowing, perhaps take out the car park entrance. Then the two roads coming in from the right should be separated and given their own exits from the roundabout, or a connector road added further back. Simples.

Chekov said...

Er ... this is my fault, but I'm afraid that's an old photo. The dual carriageway does go under the roundabout! That's its underpass full up with water. Sorry. The second roundabout no longer has a car park entrance, although you could take it out altogether as it only leads to 'the west'. Your point about the Donegal / Boucher Road entrance is, however, spot on. It's a complete trap.

fair_deal said...

The problem i have with it is some of the road markings are misleading and add in a high proportion of drivers still choose a lane based on the old design and then start hopping lanes to make up for their error is a key contributor to the blockages.

Chekov said...

Fair point. Especially when the lane hoppers are srticulated lorries coming from the Boucher Road industrial estates!

fair_deal said...


Keith Ruffles said...

Whilst I sympathise to an extent with frustrated commuters, if this roundabout inadvertantly helps to encourage people to ditch the car in favour of the bicycle, the bus or go on foot then it might actually make a positive contribution to city life yet...

Hernandez said...

Hmmm, that junction looks like a complete nightmare. The problem with Belfast is that there is neither an adequate over/underground railway network. Most other highly populated cities such as Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle, Leeds and soon Edinburgh (once the tram is completed) have some relatively efficient method of moving from one side of the city to the other.

fair_deal said...

The problem with the city is that public transport's fine if you want to go to the city centre but no good for getting directly from one section to another.

With a population of a couple of hundred thousand and dropping I don't see how a rail netowrk is viable.